India - Afghanistan to enhance defence and security ties

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India - Afghanistan to enhance defence and security ties

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani expressed on Tuesday their “firm resolve” to end the menace of terrorism while emphasising that closure of cross-border safe havens and sanctuaries were essential for lasting peace, Hindustan Times has reported.

The two leaders also “positively assessed” the support extended by India in the defence and security fields, including training of thousands of Afghan defence and security with New Delhi agreeing to extend further assistance depending upon the needs of the Afghan defence and police forces.

Detailed discussions were held between the prime minister and the president in one on one format, restricted meeting and a working lunch, a statement by the external affairs ministry said.

The Indian leadership reiterated its support for a negotiated political reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, the statement said.

“It was emphasised that renunciation of violence and terror, and closure of cross border safe havens and sanctuaries were essential for any meaningful progress and lasting peace,” the MEA statement said, in an obvious reference to Pakistan. However, the statement did not name Pakistan.

During the wide-ranging talks, deep appreciation was expressed for the bravery with which the Afghan forces were fighting terrorism imposed on Afghanistan.

“The support extended by India in the defence and security fields, including training of thousands of Afghan defence and security personnel was positively assessed. The Indian side agreed to extend further assistance depending upon the needs of the Afghan defence and police forces,” it said.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Prime Minister Modi and president Ghani discussed range of bilateral, regional and global issues, express firm resolve to end menace of terrorism.”

This was President Ghani’s fourth visit to India in the last 3 years and 12th personal interaction between the two leaders, the ministry said.

Ghani’s visit also assumes significance as it comes ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s talks with Indian leadership tomorrow. The US wants India to play a greater role in Afghanistan.